Category Archives: Coffee

Is it really February already ………..

In my usual slack style, February has managed to roll round before I finally completed the ‘Favourite 5’ list from 2008. Actually, it wasn’t easy and I kept changing my mind. That is a good thing though, if not for the timeline of the list, it certainly says much for the healthy state of the speciality coffee scene in the UK. Anyway, the list is now complete and appears in the ‘Favourite 5’ menu at the top of the page.

Also woefully late, thank you for the prod with a rather pointy stick Beany, is the result of the roaster naming competition. Thank you for the suggestions. They were all very good and it was not easy to decide on a winner. The entries from both Marcy and Technojock were excellent, however, in deference to Matt’s roasting prowess and fond memories of a chaff filled Whirley Pop session in our kitchen some years back now – that yielded both smoke and an excellent roast – plus and not least because his suggestion was a really good choice of name, the winner is:

Espressomattic, a.k.a. BreakoBoy, the king of the Whirley Pop with the name ‘Bernie’.

Congratulations mate and again thank you to everyone who took part. Matt wins the bag of homeroast that I said could not be sent overseas, though we will try to find a way if it’s at all possible.

Well that’s it for now. A massively belated wish to everyone for a very peaceful 2009.

Am I the only person that thinks HB Steve is a natural presenter?  Seriously, it’s no mean feat to remain informative whilst flowing in front of the camera. For those of you not yet acquainted with his brilliantly innovative new video blog initiative, have a little peep at – you won’t regret it,and you may even spot the odd discount code for some of Has Bean’s finest coffees! 🙂

Pinhalense in place … at last! Naming competition …

Many months ago, I mentioned the Pinhalense that we were fortunate enough to acquire from a friend the previous summer. Not wanting to do things by half, or indeed fearful of not doing justice to the machine itself, we waitied patiently until a proper space could be made available as its permanent home.Copyright CakeBoy 2007

Well the good news is that everything is now up and running thanks to some very kind help from a relative. It’s real seat of the pants roasting and extremely enjoyable. Interestingly, it seems easier to regulate the temperature of roasts with the Pinhalense situated beneath proper ventilation than it did whilst temporarily housed in the same space, though only a couple of roasts took place in that scenario and it could just be a case of becoming more familiar.

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Danny McNulty

The all too small speciality coffee world that many of us inhabit was rocked yesterday with the shock news that fellow enthusiast Danny McNulty had passed in the early hours of the morning.

It is always a surprise when someone dies suddenly, but even more so when they are apparently healthy, quite young – Danny was forty-nine – and a larger than life character. It seems that Danny had not been feeling too well and had been to hospital for tests. From accounts on, he went downhill quite quickly. That is all I know. It certainly made me think about how precious yet frail life is and how important it is to make the most of every sweet moment.

I came across Danny’s fabulously eclectic and informative website ( very early on in myDanny as he appears on his own website coffee journey, long before finding TMC and other places that I now frequent. His espresso area was full of useful information about pulling shots, grinding correctly and all sorts about equipment. I have been pointing newcomers to coffee towards Danny’s pages ever since as his style of sharing information made so many hirtherto befuddling things very clear to me when I was at that stage of my development.

Danny’s Aladdin’s cave of a site also yielded the extemely entertaining story of his exploits in starting up a ‘commercial’ mobile coffee trailer near his Portsmouth home, which at first appeared to be as much for fun as anything, but subsequently became a very successful venture. That was Danny, up to all sorts and always having an adventure. He certainly seemed to live life to the full.

Like many online coffee folk, I never met Danny personally, but I did email him to say thank you for the information on his site and a very pleasent conversation ensued. He was clearly a very nice and very patient man, whom many felt as if they knew like a friend through his online persona. Danny was a member of TMC and an infrequent poster, though when he did pop-in, everyone seemed to know him.

For a while, Danny was the UK distributor of Monsooned Malabar. A few of my TMC compartiots bought from him now and then, all spoke highly.

In a small way, Danny was the ‘Alistair Cooke’ of the UK coffee world, regularly penning extremely funny pieces regaling readers of with his adventures in the coffee trailer, entitled “Sitting in a Field”. A search on An early photo from his own website of Danny's Espresso Bar 'Sitting in a field' will yield years worth of these classic little pieces that remind me very much of ‘Letter from America’. If you have not read them, they are well worth seeking out. Danny’s charm and wit shine through readily, as does his obvious consideration for his fellow beings. These are his lasting legacy to this, our little coffee world, which is today poorer for Danny’s loss.

God bless you Danny, rest peacefully. You will be missed by so many different people in lots of different ways. Thank you from those of us to whom you gave guidance either directly or through your website.

Our thoughts are with Danny’s loved ones.

News of a fantastic new coffee site that has sprung to life in recent weeks,

Steve Leighton of Has Bean Coffee ( has launched a completely free tutorial site that offers ten daily email ‘lessons’ intended to help newbies and experienced coffee people alike. As always, Steve gives much of himself and offers readers huge amounts of information drawn from his vast experience in the coffee industry.

The content offers an excellent overview of coffee history, information about where coffee comes from, how it is processed and types of roast amongst many other things. I just wish something like this had been about when I first got into coffee. It dispels many myths for people just starting out with the hobby and is invaluable for that reason alone. As someone with a little more experience, I found the course offered me focus by making so much knowledge available in one place and filling in a few gaps as well.

Well worth a look, totally free and containing some discount codes for Has Bean, I would advise everyone from the newest of the new to industry old hands to sign up and enjoy the fruits of Steve’s amazing know-how.